CD Baby 2013
Review by David Bowling
The Woodshedders, guitarist/vocalist Dwayne Brooke, bassist/pianist/vocalist Ryan Mayo, mandolin/banjo player Jared Pool, drummer Jesse Shultzaberger, and fiddler Dave Van Deventer, have returned with their third studio album Wildfire.
The album contains two distinct approaches. There are two groups of country songs that open and close the album but right in the middle is some hybrid material that branches out into rock, Americana, and even a little blues.
The album’s best track is “Rabbit Hole,” which sounds like a cross between The Band and Grateful Dead. Incisive lyrics and layered instruments with a fine vocal mixed in make it one of the better independent songs of the past year. When you add in “Two Strings” and “Phantom Of The Highway,” which contain elements of Creedence Clearwater, Jack White, and Mumford & Sons, you have a style that they should continue to explore.
The opening tracks, “Highway” and “Keel Reel” are excellent introductions to their country style. The intergration of fiddle, mandolin, and guitar create layers of textures that take multiple listens to fully appreciate.
In many ways The Woodshedders are about having a good time. “O Dig” has an odd funky toe-tapping dance vibe while “Flat Pop And Bourbon” is a smart chugging country rock track that will makes you smile.
The Woodshedders are a band that has learned its craft well. Wildfire is a fun-filled romp that will hold your attention for forty minutes or so. Theirs is a woodshed worth visiting.